February QMJHL Report
CHL Top Prospects Game
The QMJHL was well represented in this year's CHL Top Prospects game with 15 players participating. The talent was divided as evenly as possible as seven skaters plus goalie Olivier Rodrigue played for Team Cherry, while five skaters and both goaltenders (Alexis Gravel and Kevin Mandolese) for Team Orr were from the Q.
With Bobby Orr not able to attend, Flyers great Eric Lindros was behind the bench for Team Orr. Aside from the two goalies, Lindros' squad included Quebec League defenseman Noah Dobson and Jared McIsaac and forwards Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Anderson MacDonald and Dmitry Zavgorodniy.
Joining Rodrigue on Team Cherry was defenseman Xavier Bouchard and forwards Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno, Gabriel Fortier, Vladislav Kotkov, Egor Sokolov, and Philipp Kurashev.
While these are all very talented hockey players and good prospects, the Halifax Moosehead's leading scorer Zadina once again stood above the rest coming into the game as the top-ranked QMJJL skater and one of five “A” rated prospects by Central Scouting at mid-season.
The potential top-three pick left the game proving that was no mistake after sniping a pair of second-period goals including the eventual game-winner (seen below) plus throwing another five shots on net (game-high).
MacDonald (two), and Groulx contributed with assists, while Zavgorodniy netted a goal for “Team Lindros”.
Kurashev flashed his playmaking ability and collected an assist, while Fortier showed his speed and also grabbed an apple.
Rodrigue earned the victory and deservedly so. He stopped 13 of 14 shots in what was probably the best performance of the four netminders showing the quickness and anticipation that makes him a coveted goalie prospect heading to the draft.
Gravel took the L after allowing five goals on 21 shots, but his athleticism was still apparent and shouldn't hear his name called later than the
All 14 CHL players who were chosen in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft played in last season's contest including first overall pick Nico Hischier of the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads.
– Mike Barrett
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